More and more people are using bicycles in urban areas to commute, shop or visit friends and family as well as to exercise their legs and lungs. Lighter bicycles, more gears for easier hill climbing, and no worries about parking, traffic jams, tickets or auto insurance account for some of the increase in usage. However, bicycles and urban traffic also mean risks to bike riders. This fact of city life is no less evident than in the city of Cambridge that has decided to do something about its bike safety problem.
Bicycles have always been a part of Boston’s urban roadways as they are in other cities. They are a cheap alternative to commuting as well as a means of exercise and to reduce traffic congestion. Many cities and towns are providing bike lanes on roadways to encourage bicycle use and to keep bicyclists safe from inattentive or careless motorists. Some, like the city of Boston, are implementing bike initiatives to achieve this very purpose.
For several years, there has been a debate between drivers and bicyclists. Drivers claim that cyclists do not adhere to traffic laws as the law requires them, while cyclists believe drivers do not pay enough attention to the road while driving. This debate may never end, but there is a new piece of legislation in Boston that could potentially affect both sides.
In 2008, 75 of 364 vehicle-related fatalities in Massachusetts were pedestrian deaths. In addition, Massachusetts Health and Human Services also reports that there are approximately 11 deaths and more than 1300 injuries to pedestrians between the age of 5 and 18, and that most of these events happen between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 PM. Read more
Biking is healthy. Commuting to work and school by bike is better. Or is it?
Biking in Boston has become more common. Bike lanes have been established. Bike rentals are everywhere. Offices and the MBTA offer places to lock your bikes.
But is biking safe? Studies differ. For example, in 2010, 800 bicyclists were killed and more than a half a million sought emergency room treatment for injuries from bike accidents. The medical costs and loss of productivity can be over $5 billion. Read more
Pedestrians in a Massachusetts crosswalk should proceed with caution and, perhaps, check out the type of upcoming vehicle before stepping onto the street. Why? In University of California, Berkley, study it was shown that there is a correlation between bad road manners and wealth when it comes to pedestrian crosswalks. First, the law.
It’s summer! The bicycle riders are out. In the suburbs there are one set of rules to remember and in the city there are additional rules. Of course the law is the law: wear a helmet, learn and obey traffic laws and you will resolve most potential safety problems. Bicycle accidents in Massachusetts are unfortunately all too common, especially in the summer. Many victims don’t know that there is often insurance coverage for victims of Massachusetts bicycle accidents.
Pedestrians in Boston should be pleased to know that the rage they perceive in other walkers could be very real. Signs of sidewalk rage, according can be assigned to the Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale, ranges from feeling stress and impatience when walking to the extreme psychiatric condition called “intermittent explosive disorder,” or the simple muttering and hogging a lane.
Massachusetts banned texting while driving and teenagers using cellphones while driving. However, is it time to consider banning using iPods while walking? The number of deaths among pedestrians in Massachusetts is up from 14 in the first six months of 2009 to 25 in 2010 for that period. The distracted pedestrian is the target of lawmakers in several states, who are considering laws aimed at distracted pedestrians. The reason? An 0.4% increase, nationally, in pedestrian deaths. When a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle, was his electronic distraction a factor? You can bet the insurance defense attorney will use that information.
Boston bike accident attorney Neil Burns reports that a helpful study has been undertaken by the Boston Cyclists’ Union regarding the locus of bike accidents in and around Boston. Their interactive bike map of Boston boasts of being the “best source of online information available on bike crashes” in Boston. I’ll bet they are correct. The map includes Cambridge bike accidents and Brookline bike accidents and, of course, offers satellite and hybrid views. The most alarming finding, to a motor vehicle accident attorney was that only 34% of those bikers picked up by ambulances were wearing helmets.